Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ars longa vita brevis ... or, How long was I going to wait to post this?

Finally ... here is a photo of the original seal of the City of New York (1686).  Note that the date is 1664, not the date (1625) on the seal currently in use.  The motto reads "Sigilium Civitatis Novi Eboraci," or "Seal (of the) City (of) New York, with Eborum the Latin name for "York."

Photo of seal on a 1926 statue in Central Park, erected by Military Order of Foreign Wars.

Why the change to 1625?  The story goes that Paul O'Dwyer, a fiery member of the NYC Board of Estimate and candidate for U.S. Senate, had no love for the English.  (1664 marked the transition from Dutch to English rule of Manhattan.)  So, O'Dwyer used his influence to get the date changed on the city's seal in the 1970s, and there the Dutch-friendly date 1625 remains to this day.  Ya gotta have clout!

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